Risks posed by lorries
Analysis and data on the safety risks to cyclists posed by lorries.
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The major conclusions are:
* Safety risks to cyclists posed by the average lorry have displayed a downward trend over the past two decades. This is in line with the general increases in road safety.
* Around the time of introduction of the blind-spot mirror in 2003 lorry risks have moreover decreased steeply. Not only in cases of typical blind-angle accidents, but in other lorry-bicycle accidents as well. This steep decrease, however, was only temporary. This confirmed the SWOV-conclusion that this was mainly the effect of the extra publicity surrounding the introduction of the blind-spot mirror, making drivers and cyclists more attentive.
* An average lorry on a 50 km/h road is less often involved in bicycle accidents than other motor vehicles. However, injuries are much more serious in case of lorry accidents. Lorries are on average over 7.5 times more often involved in fatal bicycle accidents as other motor vehicles. The serious outcome is probably directly due to the lorry’s mass, but the shape of the cabin is a contributing factor as well. In collisions with a lorry cyclists often end up beneath the wheels, whereas they often land on top of the hood in collisions with private cars.
* Lorries are most dangerous for elderly cyclists. Due to their vulnerability the consequences of a collision are more serious anyway for elderly cyclists, even when private cars are concerned. Chances of fatal injury are twice as high again in case of lorries.
* The relatively high risks for children posed by lorries are remarkable. For younger cyclists a lorry is over 26 times more dangerous than an average motor vehicle. Over the past 10 years 13 young cyclists were killed as a result of colliding with a private car, motorcycle or van, compared to no less than 26 children in a collision with a lorry or bus. It is likely there is a relation with the fact that children are smaller and therefore more often caught in the blind spot.
* In general roundabouts increase traffic safety. Risks of lorries on roundabouts remain high, however. In cases of fatal injuries, lorries are 17 times as dangerous to cyclists on roundabouts as other motor vehicles. In comparison, at an average intersection a lorry is over 7.5 times as dangerous